Nine-time Grammy-nominee R. Carlos Nakai will join forces with the Grammy-winning Phoenix Chorale for three historic performances of concerts titled “Desert Song” March 7-8, including two performances in the Town of Paradise Valley.
R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s most commercially successful Native American flutist. The millionth copy of his album, “Canyon Trilogy,” recently sold, thus earning Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.
The weekend concerts pair two of Arizona’s premiere musical artists — R. Carlos Nakai and the Phoenix Chorale — in a unique collaboration for a cappella choir and Native American flute.
The concerts feature music written by three living composers, Judith Cloud, Anne Kilstoft and Brent Michael Davids, along with two rarely performed pieces written by Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, one of the most important Mexican composers of the post-Renaissance era.
“Desert Song” concerts take place 2 p.m. Saturday, March 7 at Camelback Bible Church, 3900 E. Stanford Drive, Paradise Valley; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 100 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix; and 3 p.m. Sunday, March 8 at Christ Church of the Ascension, 4015 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley.
Advance tickets are $32 for adults, $27 for seniors and active duty military, and $13 for students.
Tickets purchased at the door are $5 more. Tickets can be purchased online at www.PhoenixChorale.org or by calling 602-253-2224.
“We are excited and honored to work with such an accomplished musician,” says Artistic Director Charles Bruffy.
“R. Carlos Nakai is the world’s preeminent performer of indigenous flutes from around the world. We’re very much looking forward to collaborating with him.”
R. Carlos Nakai began his musical studies on the trumpet, but a car accident ruined his embouchure. His musical interests took a turn when he was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to master it.
Nakai’s first album, “Changes,” was released by Canyon Records in 1983, and since then he has released over 35 albums with Canyon plus additional albums and guest appearances on other labels. In addition to his educational workshops and residencies, Nakai has appeared as a soloist throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan, and has worked with Grammy-winner flutist Paul Horn, guitarist/luthier William Eaton, composer James DeMars among many others.
Nakai brought the flute into the concert hall, performing with over 15 symphony and chamber orchestras. He was a featured soloist on the Philip Glass composition, “Piano Concerto No. 2: After Lewis & Clark,” premiered by the Omaha Symphony.
Nakai also works with producer and arranger Billy Williams, a two-time Grammy winner, in composing for and performing the traditional flute in orchestral works of a lighter vein.
The Phoenix Chorale, under the direction of Artistic Director Charles Bruffy, is regarded as one of the finest choral ensembles in North America. What began in 1958 as a small study group of singers became a fully professional choir in 1992 made up of Arizona residents: highly educated and trained singers, teachers and professionals.
In 2004, the Phoenix Chorale became the first North American choir to record for the U.K.’s prestigious Chandos Records and since then, the chorale’s recordings have earned a total of eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins.
The Phoenix Chorale aims to be the preeminent model for American choral music by redefining the standards of excellence and its mission to enrich life through excellence and distinction in choral artistry. All Phoenix Chorale recordings can be found at phoenixchorale.org.
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